Gedney Hill Primary School on upward curve after good Ofsted report

GOOD PROGRESS: Youngsters at Gedney Hill Primary School and executive headteacher Alison Buddle celebrate the school's good Ofsted report.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
GOOD PROGRESS: Youngsters at Gedney Hill Primary School and executive headteacher Alison Buddle celebrate the school's good Ofsted report. Photo by Tim Wilson.

Evidence of rapid improvement at Gedney Hill Primary School has been confirmed by Ofsted which has judged it to be good in all areas.

The work of staff, led by executive headteacher Alison Buddle, governors, parents and children to turn round a school previously rated as “requires improvement” was recognised in the latest Ofsted report which said Gedney Hill Primary School “has improved considerably”.

The highlight of the Ofsted report for us was when the inspector said that ‘the school is now a great asset to our village’”.

Executive headteacher Alison Buddle, Gedney Hill Primary School

After a two-day inspection last month, the report praised the school for its “good quality early years provision, well-trained and effectively deployed teaching assistants, exemplary behaviour of pupils and excellent relationships throughout the school”.

Mrs Buddle, who also heads up Shepeau Stow Primary School, said: “I have a very dedicated team of staff, supportive parents and governors, along with the pupils who are an absolute credit to us.

“They work really hard, as the staff and governors have helped to drive standards up, and the highlight of the Ofsted report for us was when the inspector said that ‘the school is now a great asset to our village’”.

An extract from the report read: “Throughout the school, pupils make good progress from their starting points and achieve well.

“Teachers and teaching assistants have excellent relationships with pupils and meet their needs well, (while) pupils enjoy their lessons.

“Governors know about the quality of teaching in the school and how (it) continues to improve teaching, asking searching questions to ensure that the school continues to provide the best for its pupils.

“The behaviour of pupils is outstanding and their positive attitudes to school and learning is a key reason why standards are rising.”

Mrs Buddle joined the school, now with a register of about 45 pupils, in November 2012 after it was federated with Shepeau Stow at a time when pupils numbers were falling at Gedney Hill.

This led to an Ofsted report in October 2013 which criticised standards of teaching, leadership, management and “pupils’ attitudes to learning”.

The latest Ofsted report did advise Gedney Hill to help older pupils improve how their work is presented and promote “problem-solving” in maths work.

Mrs Buddle said: “The areas for improvement were already identified and we’ve started to work on them, particularly on Fridays which are all about the pupils applying problem-solving skills.”

Notice had been served on Gedney Hill Primary School to expect a good Ofsted report after church school inspectors found positive evidence of progress last year.

A joint Church of England/Methodist schools report after an inspection last September highlighted executive headteacher’s Alison Buddle’s “strong and determined Christian leadership”, a “well-informed and proactive governing body” and parents who were both “supportive and appreciative”.

Chairman of governors David Goose said: “The governing body and myself are all very proud of what the school has done and it’s a reflection of the good work put in by the executive headteacher Alison Buddle, the very capable staff, excellent behaviour of pupils and their keenness to learn.

“We’ve hopefully created an environment for them to hold their attention and there are enough things going on so that they can enjoy the school day.”

Mrs Buddle, Headteacher of the Year (Primary) at the 2014 Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian Education Awards, added: “In what is a really rural location, we have a very goood relationship with our community.”

An extract from the church schools report read: “The strong and determined Christian leadership of the headteacher, supported by a well-informed and proactive governing body, makes a significant contribution to the success of this church school in meeting its aims.

“Good relationships throughout the school exemplify and nurture the Christian values for which the school stands and a supportive and appreciative parent body enhances the positive and developing home/school partnership.”

Meanwhile, areas for improvement included the provision of a “peace garden” to “enhance opportunities for spiritual reflection”, more church school training for governors, inviting other faith and community groups to lead assemblies and adopt a “more reflective analysis” of school worship times.

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